Anvil Readies Re-Release of "This Is Thirteen," Prepares for AC/DC Stadium Shows
Certainly one of the most feel-good rock n' roll comeback stories of recent times is that of Canadian heavy metal band Anvil. The band, considered a major influence for a generation of hard rockers including Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, and Guns N' Roses, was the subject of a critically acclaimed, must-see rock-doc, "Anvil! The Story of Anvil," directed by Sacha Gervasi. And in the process, the film has made the group (led by singer/guitarist Steve "Lips" Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner - both founding members) a household name. But the group's story will certainly not end with the film.
First up for Anvil are U.S. shows opening for Aussie rock legends AC/DC - in football stadiums. "We're really excited about these shows, we've only heard awesome things about playing in football stadiums. I was with the Green Day guys last night, and they were telling me, 'Man, it's probably going to be the gig of your life'!"
And then on September 15, "This is Thirteen" will finally see proper national distribution on CD and vinyl via VH1 Classic Records. The CD will feature the newly recorded, never-before released bonus track "Thumb Hang." The collectible double vinyl LP boasts newly re-recorded versions of Anvil classics "Metal on Metal" and "666." The album, originally recorded in 2007 and produced by Chris Tsangarides (Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy), was primarily available directly from the band via their website and at their concerts.
"'This is Thirteen' is more like our first three albums," says Lips, "which represent our real identity. For many of our albums, we went on an 'integrity hunt' instead of on a 'commercial/radio hunt,' so we became extremely inaccessible to radio. This time, we stepped back and said, 'What were we originally?' And we rediscovered ourselves, I suppose." Reiner adds, "There are three tracks that in my opinion, are definitely, 100% AOR/hard rock/commercial radio tracks - 'American Refuge,' 'Flying Blind,' and 'Feed the Greed.' Catchy melodies, incredible drum feels - they just all rock."
The title track is about as classic Anvil as you can get - that slow, powerful, heavy backbeat with cool changes. The violent-sounding "Bombs Away" is, according to Reiner, "the almightiest metal track on the entire record," "Ready to Fight" is pure speed rock 'n roll - Nugent on steroids - that boasts super-heavy drumming, and "Big Business" is akin, musically-speaking, to Cream's classic "Sunshine of Your Love." And then there's the true classic, Anvil near-anthem, "Shoulda' Woulda' Coulda'," that's about living life with no regrets.
Reiner points out that the input from acclaimed producer Tsangarides (who produced early Anvil albums) was a major reason for "This is Thirteen" turning out the way it did. "The last four or five albums, material-wise, were all similar. We had been trying to find the direction back to the classic Anvil style and sound - it's just that the production hadn't been up to scratch. Chris was a big missing part on our past albums."
Despite some zany Spinal Tap-like parallels between Anvil and David St. Hubbins and company in the film, Anvil has always been taken seriously by metalheads, including some very well known rock stars, who praise the band in the film. "Anvil was one of those bands that just put on this really amazing live performance," said Velvet Revolver/ex-Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash, while Motorhead singer/bassist Lemmy added, "They were a great band - I always liked Anvil," and Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich gushed, "These guys were going to turn the music world upside down."
So, the AC/DC dates, the release of "This is Thirteen," what else can fans expect from Anvil in the future? Lips was willing to provide a hint: "Working. More recording. More gigs. More - more than ever!"
Here are the tour dates with AC/DC:
JULY 28 Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
JULY 31 Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
AUGUST 6 Magnetic Hill, Moncton, New Brunswick CANADA
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